Canadian German telephone linkup Wageningen Netherlands 5 May 1945

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Telephone linkup 5 May 1945
On 3 May 1945 a truce was called in the 1 Canadian Corps area of the Netherlands to enable food to be delivered to the Dutch civilians. This effort was known as Operation FAUST and entailed food being brought to the front lines, transferred to 'neutral' vehicles and then driven over the front line to the civilians living in the German controlled areas.

A conference between Allied and German representatives was to be held on 5 May 1945 at a hotel in Wageningen Netherlands. 1st Canadian Corps Signals was called upon to establish a telephone link between the conference site and the German command to enable communications.

The 1st Canadian Corps Signals War Diary[1] records the following entries:

4 May 1945       ... A detachment of 1 Line Section with Capt. A.H. Reardon i/c left Main Corps at 1930 hrs tonight on a special line job. They are to lay a line from WAGENINGEN (E5776) WEST toward RHENEN (E5075) to meet German lines which are being laid from there eastward toward WAGENINGEN. A truce was declared in this area yesterday to enable food to be brought in to Dutch civilians.
A conference between Allied and German reps is to be held at WAGENINGEN possibly tomorrow, and this line is being laid to provide comn from the scene of the conference back to the German command.
At the conference area in WAGENINGEN we are to provide a switchboard on which the lines to conference room, Main 1 Corps, German Comd and Rear 49 Div will terminate. ...
     
5 May 1945       At 0800 hrs this morning the cease fire and stand fast order went into effect in HOLLAND, N.W. GERMANY, DENMARK and the FRIERIAN[sic] ISLANDS.
...
On the route from WAGENINGEN to RHENEN, our cable det were to meet the German cable people at a pre-arranged spot (E554755) which was indicated by a Dutch flag. On reaching this locn with the line at 0800 hrs, Capt Reardon's det could see no sign of the German line party so Capt Reardon went ahead to recce. At E540752 he came to a barrier manned by German sentries, who, although they were quite willing to believe that the war was over for them, had not been advised of the fact, so would not allow our cable party to go beyond the barrier. Soon after this however the German cable party appeared and at 0945 hrs met our party with their line approx 1500 yds EAST of the point originally laid down. The joining of the two lines took place at 1015 hrs in the presence of Brigadier A.E. Wrinch, CSO and Lt-Col J.D. Macbeth, OC Sigs. Numerous cameramen were present for the occasion. During the afternoon the conference for which all these preparations had been made was held in an[sic] hotel in WAGENINGEN.

Photographs

The following are photographs of the linkup.

Video

The following video is footage of the work establishing the link up. Identified Canadians in the video are Brigadier Wrinch (0:06), Captain Reardon (1:51) and Sergeant Stacy (0:32).

References

  1. 1 Canadian Corp Signals War Diary. Military Communications and Electronics Museum Archives.